Right. Boy of the Month! That’s a pretty long time; seems as if someone should have done something to warrant being a boy of a whole fucking month. If I did do something, I don’t know what it was or even how the boy of the month was selected at my junior high. But somebody said your picture is up in the case by the principal’s office. Sure enough, there it was.
Later, the same year I was Boy of the Month, I wrote up a petition to get one of our teachers relieved of her duties. Ms. Purdy had no control over her 7th grade english class. We had to do oral reports, for example, and she would sit in the very front row! As if purposely situation herself so she couldn’t see any of the spitballing and pencil sticking and monkeying around that was going on right behind her back.
The poor girls who had developed breasts had a terrible time because the boys would just stare and make lacivious faces and the poor girl would be reduced to mumbling and looking at the floor and pulling her sweater over this breast and that breast which didn’t really cover them up and made one even more aware of them. And when a guy was giving his oral report, the guys in the back row—most of whom I hung out with—would make monkey faces or stick pencils up their nostrils or out of their ears and try to make the kid giving the oral report crack up. Sometimes one would start giggling and Ms. Purdy would say something like, “That’s alright Johnny. Now compose yourself.” Having no idea at all what was going on. When it came to discipline, she was clueless.
So I wrote up a petition that said something like, Ms Purdy is a decent person but an ineffective teacher. Consequently, we, the undersigned felt she should be relieved of her duties, for the sake of her emotional wellbeing. Pretty much like that, with some heretofores and whereass thrown in for legalistic effect. I thought what I had written was pretty funny; the whole idea tickled me. So I passed the petition around and people signed it because Ms. Purdy’s inability to mange the classroom was a topic of conversation among us seventh graders. Not that we wanted a disciplinarian or anything, but Miss Purdy made it just way too easy.
I had maybe 20 signatures when I was called out of class and told the principal wanted to see me. He was pretty stern and said he had heard I was circulating a petition about Miss Purdy and that doing so was completely inappropriate. I said, OK. And then he told me either to give the petition to him or tear it up myself. In any case, it was to disappear and the whole petition thing had to be dropped. Given my treatment at the hands of my parents, I guess I had come to expect this sort of impersonal treatment from adults. He didn’t care at all about the substance of the charges and he didn’t ask me what I thought I was up to.
Boy of the Month! Ha!